Intelligence report warned of imminent al-Shabaab attacks

Mandera al-shabaab attack

A shell of a lorry burnt by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Mandera South in a past attack.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) had on Sunday warned of terrorist plots asking security organs to be vigilant before attacks were reported this week, including the killing of eight police officers in Garissa.

A leaked intelligence report seen by Saturday Nation, which was sent out on June 11, revealed that al-Shabaab militants were planning to carry out an attack and even described the vehicle that was rigged with explosives.

In the report, NIS advised the erection of roadblocks to subject all vehicles to security checks with the aim of averting the planned attacks.

It issued specific information on when and where vehicles carrying explosives were and from where they had been driven from.
“The vehicle type is a Toyota Land Cruiser, colour not revealed, onboard are eight explosives experts and each vehicle carrying four militants,” part of the intelligence report reads.

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the Saturday Nation will not give specifics of areas where the reports indicated the attacks might take place since such information has always been prescient and correct.

In addition, the intelligence report also said al-Shabaab militants held a meeting at Holawajeer, Somalia, which is located in the southern part of Somalia towards the Kenyan border. 

It is in Holawajeer where six years ago Kenya Defence Forces soldiers killed 31 al-Shabaab terrorists, including a top commander, during a raid.

“The transportation of explosives by al-Shabaab militants towards our cities is an indicator of a planned terror attack. Meanwhile, all roadblocks to exercise security checks to deter possible attacks. Monitoring continues,” the intelligence report further states.

Intel shared

On June 13, 2023, two days after the intelligence report on the presence of suspected militants in the country was shared among security organs in the country, eight police officers were killed after the vehicle they were travelling in hit a landmine in Garissa County.
The eight officers were patrolling the Garissa- Lamu border when the incident happened. Photos captured at the scene showed how the vehicle overturned.

Still, on the same day, another group of security personnel was attacked by suspected al-Shabaab militants, but the officers managed to escape unhurt.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki is currently in Lamu which has a history of being a playground for suspected al-Shabaab militants, where he is meeting top security officials.

The county has in the past been plagued with insecurity challenges which have left hundreds dead and property worth millions destroyed.

On his first day in Lamu, Prof Kindiki said terrorism tops the list of national security threats.
Still, on the same day, three people were injured when suspected al-Shabaab militants sprayed bullets at a PSV which was travelling from Nairobi to Mandera.

The bus had been stopped by the suspected militants and on sensing danger, the driver defied the orders and sped off. Despite driving on a flat tyre, the driver managed to drive to safety.

On June 15, some 15 suspected Shabaab militants stopped a bus plying the Nairobi- Mandera route.

It all started when they fired in the air forcing the driver to stop the bus, the militants ordered the passengers to alight but none of them was a non-local and they were asked to proceed with their journey.

The incidents are taking place at a time when Kenya has agreed to open its border with Somalia, which has been closed for 12 years.
The Saturday Nation contacted National Police Service spokesperson Resalia Onyango, who said she was not privy to the intelligence reports on possible attacks on security organs.

“I will get back to you after getting information from the ground,” Dr Onyango said.